As we reported last week, Panettiere has gone on medical leave from the ABC drama to undergo treatment for postpartum depression. Her character, Juliette — who in an eerie parallel is also battling postpartum depression — will be last seen in the Nov. 18 episode. But she will be back.
“It’s not the entire season, it’s just for now,” Johnson tells Deadline, adding, “We’ve had to make adjustments, but it’s not uncommon for shows to have to make such accommodations when real life intervenes.”
Johnson, meanwhile, denies that Panettiere’s real-life struggles informed Juliette’s storyline. “We incorporated Hayden’s pregnancy into the storyline last season,” she notes, “but we knew Juliette would have issues with motherhood and had always planned for her to struggle with her demons afterwards, including postpartum depression.”